Rambutan

Sri Lankan·
££££
·
Gold Award

SquareMeal Review of Rambutan

Gold Award

Undoubtedly one of 2023’s most anticipated openings, Cynthia Shanmugalingam’s London debut is a jolt to the senses in all the best ways, and delivers on all the promise with wave after wave of Sri Lankan curries, rotis, sambols and sauces that emanate heart and soul. Rambutan really does feel like a home-cooked meal, with the experience made even more welcoming by wonderful staff.

The interiors are nicely measured, balancing sleek green marble and polished timber with mottled plaster and rattan-seated chairs - a combo that feels simultaneously homely and elegant. Warm earth and terracotta tones spill across the restaurant colour palette, as do the substantial leaves of strelitzia plants and yuccas. An open kitchen fizzes with activity along the left hand side of the main dining room, and a downstairs cocktail bar is a perfect hideaway for drinks and nibbles.

Which all leads us nicely to the food. Goodness, the food! We’ll start by saying this: Cynthia’s rotis are utterly sensational - we could eat hundreds of them. If Rambutan alone was just a procession of curries with enough rotis to mop up the glistening sauces, we’d be more than happy. But it is not just that. It is sambols - parsley and coconut, lime and lemongrass, coconut pol sambol, all with different levels of heat, acidity and sweetness. Each shines a new light on different dishes, with flavours refracting in new and unexpected ways. There are hot and sour acharu pickles, and mellow, fluffy gundu dosa balls with coriander dipping sauce. Our curry on the night is a whole jaffna crab, which we crack into with abandon, mess, and lots of napkins. The combination of sweet crab, buttery rotis, coconut relish and pandan potatoes is electric, made all the better by a compact cocktail list and some smartly chosen wines.

Rambutan has only been open a few months, but this restaurant already knows exactly what it is - Sri Lankan diaspora cooking with soul. Go now and don’t look back.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cuisines
Sri Lankan
Ambience
Cool, Fun, Lively, Quirky
Other Awards
SquareMeal London Top 100
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Counter dining, Vegetarian options
People
Child friendly
Food Hygiene Rating

About

Rambutan is British-Sri Lankan cook Cynthia Shanmugalingam’s debut restaurant, and she couldn't have chosen a more foodie location slap bang in the middle of London’s Borough Market. Although Cynthia was born in Coventry, the restaurant takes inspiration from her time spent exploring Sri Lanka with a focus on regional dishes traditionally found in the north of the country.  

The 60-cover restaurant spans two floors and offers a bright and warming space to dine, taking inspiration from the modern, post-colonial style of Minnette de Silva (Sri Lanka’s most famous female architect). A number of one-of-a-kind pieces have been created for the restaurant, including geometric textiles, prints, sustainable Ceylon teak chairs and hand painted tiles, while natural clay and concrete materials provide a relaxing backdrop to the colourful decorations.  

Downstairs, diners can perch at the eight-seater bar for pre or post dinner drinks, with a menu of island-inspired cocktails made with tropical ingredients including lemongrass, pandan leaf and iced Ceylon tea. A selection of beers from South London brewers are also available as well as a weekly changing line up of natural and biodynamic wines. 

Rambutan makes use of the local, fresh produce that’s readily available from neighbouring suppliers in the market. Daily-changing menus feature a range of street food snacks that are commonly eaten on-the-go in the northern cultural capital Jaffna, things like aged mutton rolls, spice fish malu buns and a traditional type of bun filled with curried potato and fish. Fresh vegetable dishes include daikon and mint sambol, carrot and lime kosambari salad and aubergine pahi, while large plates include grilled lamb chops, Jaffna crab fried rice and grilled mackerel with turmeric and tamarind.  

Alongside its signature plates, guests can tuck into plenty of authentic curries, such as a cashew nut curry, pickled pork curry and red beef and bone marrow curry, as well as classic hoppers, dosas and rotis.  


FAQs

Do I need to book?

Booking is advised but the restaurant holds tables for walk-ins as well.

Helpful? 0

What sort of cuisine is Rambutan?

The menu is based around Sri Lankan cuisine

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Location

10 Stoney Street, London Bridge, London, SE1 9AD
Website

Opening Times

Lunch
Mon Closed
Tue 12:00-15:00
Wed 12:00-15:00
Thu 12:00-15:00
Fri Closed
Sat Closed
Sun 12:00-15:30
Dinner
Mon Closed
Tue 17:00-22:15
Wed 17:00-22:15
Thu 17:00-22:15
Fri Closed
Sat Closed
Sun Closed
All day
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu Closed
Fri 12:00-22:15
Sat 12:00-22:15
Sun Closed

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